The Wrong End of the Table

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 05 Mar 2019

Member Reviews

I will never look at footnotes the same again. I LOVED the humor and authenticity of The Wrong End of the Table and the quirky, hilarious subtext of the footnotes from the publisher making comments to her mother needing her to include a disclaimer on a particular family story. I connected immediately with the longing to belong in the ever-present cliques of our youth and related to her many attempts to get a foot in the door in already seemingly solid friendship circles and in all aspects of life.

The Wrong End of the Table was a joy to read in its entirety, getting a glimpse inside this unique nomad experience. Ayser was constantly moving to remote locations that had polar opposite cultures and dynamics from a small town in the US to Saudi Arabia and back. It was interesting to witness how each impacted her differently during her different life stages. Her changing priorities as she grew up creating a unique perspective at each new location.

For example, she might have been able to appreciate the all girls school in Saudi Arabia when she was still too young to care for the opposite sex, but then when she got hurt she realized the annoyance of her mom having to call a taxi to take them to the hospital because women couldn't drive in that country and her father was at work. Ayser is extremely self-reflective and continuously displayed a complete picture making you feel like you were a part of her story. This piece of the book became my favorite because even in this particular scenario she found joy in the quality time that was created because her dad now had to drive her back and forth to the multiple follow up checkups soon after her accident.

I took this book along with a dozen others on my latest vacation and this one had me skipping an excursion or two in order to continuing reading. It became my favorite by far. It was sincere, entertaining, and transported me all over the world. Ayser poured out her heart and revealed her secret dreams, her struggles, some advice not to lie and drive, and much more!
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This was a really fun read that made me think more about culture and society and how those things are so important to us.
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I enjoy reading books like this. It was a good read. I love the writing style. I would read more about her and her life.
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Thank you NetGalley and Publisher for this early copy,

This was a DNF for me. I really enjoyed the writing style but had to stop after a chapter with too much adult content for me.
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Ayser is a great storyteller and this is a story more people need to read in 2019. It's cute, smart, and I appreciated a look into a culture I don't know much about. I'm always looking to learn about different cultures, and Ayser's memoir was a very pleasant way of doing it. 

Thanks to NetGalley and Edelweiss for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
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In this memoir, Ayser Salman explores what it means to be an Iraqi immigrant in the U.S. from a humorous way, poking fun at her childhood of always feeling a little outside of the cool circle. Her self-deprecating humor is laugh out loud funny, and I really enjoy the way she approaches difficult topics from a unique, relatable standpoint. She could have gone a little harder into some subjects, but I really appreciate her voice and what she set out to do. Definitely an enjoyable read!
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I loved this book.  I really enjoy memoirs that are injected with lots of humor and relateable human experiences.
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Ayser Salman is funny, but the book is a maybe. Her life is neither religious nor ethnically / geographically determined - her family traveled a lot because of her father's profession and she was bullied in school over her name. That's about it.
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The story of an Iraqi immigrant's experiences living in America (and Saudi Arabia). The author tells of her experiences with a great deal of humor. At times funny, at times sad, the book really held my interest. I feel like I really learned a great deal from reading this, as to how an immigrant from a (face-it) unpopular country finds herself in the USA. From facing the outright hostility to the outright ignorance, Salman never complains but finds humor in the situations. 
Last year, we hosted a Muslim girl from the Netherlands as an exchange student in our home, Her best friend here was another Muslim girl, this one from Pakistan. I tried so hard to give her the best experiences, ones she will remember always. Jaida and her friend would come home and tell me about some of the prejudices and ignorance towards Muslim's that they faced. If I had read this book prior to her arrival, I really feel that I could have been better prepared to handle it. 
Everyone should take some time and expose themselves to books like Salman's. If we did, we would be so much more enlightened and thoughtful. Life is way different then the demonizing towards Muslims that is occurring in the USA today!
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Great memoir by Ayser Salman detailing what it's like to be an outsider in this country and still manage to keep a sense of humor about it.
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Mostly charming largely comic memoir about an American immigrant trying to balance her dual identity. Occasionally too crude for my taste, personally, but otherwise interesting. It would do well in a course or book club focused on "common man" memoirs
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This book was a great read. Myself, being a child of immigrants made this memoir very relatable to me. I laughed at the many humorous stories, and was shocked at how the author's life could've been has she stayed in Saudi Arabia.
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Thanks to Netgalley and Skyhorse Publishing for the ARC of this hilarious and heart-warming memoir about Ayser Salman, a woman born in Iraq and raised in the United States after her parents escaped a fascist regime under Saddam Hussain. As the author promised, all the questions you have but are too polite to ask about Muslims are answered in a blunt and comical prose. I recommend this book to anyone who loves memoirs and learning about different cultures.
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As the title indicates, this is a mostly funny memoir about growing up as an Iraqi immigrant in the US (and a stint in Saudi Arabia), trying to fit in, and identifying as a Muslim but not a super religious one. The comic vignette style is usually used more by celebrities, whereas memoirs by non-famous people in my reading experience are more often are by people who have had traumatic things happen to them, so this was an interesting change - more like a "Bossypants" type of book but written by a regular person. The parts about her childhood are great, 4 star for sure, but for me the book started to meander a bit once she was an adult, though there were still funny bits. Also, reading a digital version, the footnotes really got to be a bit much especially on a phone where it is not easy to click in and out of them (though the footnotes themselves were funny). On the other hand, this is a perfect type of book to read on a phone or otherwise on the go because the chapters are really short and self-contained, so it's great for reading just a little bit at a time. 3.5 stars.
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The wrong end of the table is an incredibly interesting and entertaining look into a part of American life I (and I’m guessing many other Americans) don’t know much about. While I especially enjoyed the humorous looks into Ayser’s dating history, I felt like the comedy at times was missing something. Overall, funny read, would recommend.
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Thank you to Skyhorse Publishing and NetGalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Ayser Salam takes you on a journey of her early childhood emigrating to America with her parents and brother, her brief return to her home country and then back to the USA and the rest of her life to this point. 

Here's the thing, whilst I did like the tone of this memoir and found myself giggling on more than one occasion, especially during the exchanges between Ayser and her mother, it didn't grab me emotionally like other memoirs have. I couldn't give you a specific reason why it didn't because the writing is smooth and crisp and like I said the parental exchanges are funny but apart from that I just felt meh. 

That being said it is an easy read and does cover some serious issues but it just didn't leave me wanting more, which is disappointing.
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I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. This was a fabulous, thought-provoking read.   Ayser Salman is a Muslim-American who writes her perspective on being on the "wrong side of the table." I found it eye-opening as well as hilarious! My only warning about this read is that there is a fair amount of coarse language and swearing in this book!
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This was a quick and funny read with lots of crazy stories complete with footnotes. Imagine telling all your funny and embarrassing stories from when you were in preschool through adulthood?! It takes a certain amount of courage to tell those stories and Ayser Salman doesn't shy away from sharing how left out she felt--how she always felt like she was at the wrong end of the table. She shares instances where she felt like she was at the wrong end of the table for being "too Muslim", "too American", "too shy", or "too outgoing". She struggled with what many of us did as teens--wanting to be recognized while also wanting to remain invisible. After feeling like she stuck out in a crowd most her life, Salman loved going to college: "I loved my new anonymity. No one cared who I was or looked twice in my direction--and it was bliss." I enjoyed reading about the situations she had that were similar to mine and ones that were unique to her. I especially loved how she used these stories as an opportunity to tell us we should all accept ourselves: "It's okay even if my Muslim behavior is different from the Muslim behavior you expect--all I know is it's real and authentically mine. And I hope that if any of you question your authenticity or legitimacy, you'll give yourselves a break, too.
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I thoroughly enjoyed this book (although the footnotes were distracting - not the content, just the format, just saying). 

Ayser is a lady who was born in Iraq, came to the US when she was a toddler, went to Saudi Arabia when she was a pre-teen and then came back to the US, where she has lived ever since. She is a modern Muslim woman who has tried to make sense of her world, even though there were times when she didn't feel like she fitted in.

As a fellow first generation person, there were a lot of things in this book which I could relate to. Pickled turnips versus pickled herring....yep!! Both foods are an acquired taste (never tried pickled turnips but the thought of pickled herring makes my mouth water), but if that is a part of your culture, that is that. I found myself saying "me too" quite a bit actually, even though I live in Australia and am not Muslim - but there is something about being the new kid on the block, over and over again, and being SO different to others around you. To missing the subtle social cues that others take for granted, and so on. Trying to straddle two very different worlds and not really fitting in with either one all that well, but eventually not caring so much. 

This was a great read and if you are a child of immigrants, no matter where your parents are from, I think you will be able to relate. I really liked Ayser, and thought she was very brave documenting so much of her life. The overall feel is that she became very comfortable in her own skin and I really liked that. The phone calls with her parents were hilarious and so relatable! The parts of the book which were set in Saudi Arabia were a real eye-opener to me and made me happy not to have to live under such strict rules. 

Highly recommended.

4.5 stars from me :)

Thank you to NetGalley and Skyhorse.
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Charming snippets of the life of an Iraqi American woman, and her experiences growing up in different parts of America (Kansas, CA, etc). While humorously written, I found parts of the memoir to be highly repetitive. .
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